Tuesday, 12 November 2013

DONT PANIC - Transgender Journalism 10 Positive Steps

If you are a journalist no matter what area you are working in be it art and fashion, politics and current affairs, crime and justice or even sport it is more and more likely that you will come across stories involving the full diversity of the trans community. With a tight deadline and with little experience in this area what do you do?


Here are some top tips to help make your article shine:

1. Do talk to the trans person you are writing the story about we don’t bite honest! We know best when it comes to writing about our own identity, so why re-invent the wheel?

2. Do Speak to All About Trans or Trans Media Watch. Facebook, Twitter, or Email them it doesn't matter which. They will give you everything you need to ensure you don’t fall down with any common mistakes.

3. Remember you are a fabulous journalist and not a bibliographer. You are probably writing a great story best to stick to that and let it shine not digging round in the mundane previous life of a trans person.

4. Do pose your trans subjects in a suitably glamorous pose, you will probably get more attention for flattering your subject rather than accidentally embarrassing them.

5. Do use a recent photo, not one of them that appears like a different person the main reason being the person in the photo is the wrong gender (I’m talking about past before and after pics not big or clever they just suck).

6. Do criticise trans people who do bad things, we are all people we can all do bad things. Trans people are not exempt from criticism but remember criticise what they have done not that they are trans that’s the story not their gender.

7. Do report news, we like news, we like scandal, we like entertainment and we even like the pull out fashion spreads many newspapers have. Now you are reporting news you won’t have space for those pointless “someone has transitioned” articles. Trans people haven’t suddenly come down from the moon, we have been around forever despite what the gossip circle in some shire town is telling you.

8. Do give trans people a voice. Ok I would say that I’m trans and I’m writing about improving media presence for trans people, but you will be surprised how many fabulous experts and commentators across a range of subject areas out there are Trans. Don’t be afraid to let us speak, we can do more than talk about our gender in fact most of us would prefer it instead of having to discuss ourselves all of the time.

9. Do use the normal dictionary of words you use in other articles they aren't broken so why try to fix them? No need to bring in “Sex Swop” “tranny” or “Sex Change” they just aren't cool and you just end up being the classroom bully instead of the dazzling journalist we all know you can be.

10. Finally DO REMEMBER the person you are writing about is more than a story, more than being transgender, they are human and have so much more to give than having their gender objectified if their gender history isn't relevant to the story why include it? 

Now you have all the tools to be a journalist with extra gold stars and the tips to make your story shine. Go forth and continue to make our lives interesting with stories, glamour and news which ever part of the media industry you work in.

Here are some positive messages from Trans people that may help too:

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